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Prison sentence for aggressive town centre beggar who breached behaviour order

19 July 2022
Two enforcement officers on patrol on Stockton High Street

Two enforcement officers on patrol on Stockton High Street

A "prolific" aggressive beggar in Stockton town centre has been sentenced to 27 weeks in prison after repeatedly breaching a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

George Wilson, 47, was also ordered to pay £620 costs at Teesside Magistrates' Court earlier this month (July 6).

Wilson, who lives at Hartington Road in Stockton, was issued with a CBO in March 2020 after he after he was found guilty of assaulting a Civic Enforcement Officer in Stockton town centre.

The CBO prohibited Mr Wilson from making verbal, non-verbal or written requests for money, donations or goods.

He first breached the CBO in late 2020 and was ordered to attend a nine-month drug rehabilitation programme.

But Wilson continued to defy the conditions of the CBO, and 14 separate incidents were reported to Cleveland Police by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

This included being seen by the Council's CCTV Control Room begging in Stockton town centre, as well as verbally abusing an off-duty Enforcement officer.

Councillor Norma Stephenson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said: "When begging spills over into aggressive and intimidating behaviour then we take action - and that's why we brought forward the CBO for Mr Wilson, who was unfortunately becoming prolific at targeting shoppers, visitors and people on a night out in Stockton town centre.

"Despite the support offered to Mr Wilson, such as the drug rehabilitation programme, he hasn't changed his ways and we welcome the sentence handed to him.

"We appreciate that aggressive begging can be frightening for the public, and I would like to thank the Enforcement team who helped assist the Police to get this sentence secured.

"Please do report any concerns you have to our Enforcement team, who can be reached on 01642 528439 or by emailing civic.enforcement@stockton.gov.uk."

The Council defines aggressive begging as begging that is threatening or intimidating, or persistent even if someone has already refused. Action can also be taken against any begging in the vicinity of a cashpoint, or that targets a vulnerable person.

You can find out more by visiting the dedicated Enforcement page on the Council's website.

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